Dominicans top South Korea 10-6, win baseball bronze

Aug 6, 2021, 12:30 PM | Updated: Aug 7, 2021, 3:14 am

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — With some names that seemed more relevant to Old-Timers Day than the present, the Dominican Republic overcame a bullpen meltdown to claim its first Olympic baseball medal.

Juan Francisco homered in a four-run first inning, then hit a tiebreaking, two-run double off Seunghwan Oh of South Korea in a five-run eighth of a 10-6 victory Saturday that earned the baseball bronze.

Melky Cabrera had four hits for the Dominicans (3-3).

Ten years ago, these players would have formed a more powerful team, but they would have been blocked from the Olympics because Major League Baseball refuses access to players on 40-man rosters.

“I can’t tell you what would have happened in bygone years, but I do feel a deep sense of pride, and we’re very, very satisfied that we achieved a bronze medal,” Dominican manager Hector Borg said through an interpreter.

The 34-year-old Francisco’s best season was in 2013, when he had 48 RBIs for Atlanta and Milwaukee. Cabrera, 36, was an All-Star for San Francisco in 2012, just before his 50-game suspension under MLB’s drug program.

Francisco hit .208 (5 for 24) with two homers and five RBIs during the tournament, the last for baseball in the Olympics until at least 2028.

Cabrera hit .381 with two RBIs, part of a batting order that included 40-year-old José Bautista (2 for 17, one RBI), a six-time All-Star, and 36-year-old Emilio Bonifacio (4 for 17, .235, no RBIs).

Dominican players danced in the dugout as their offense rolled.

“That is also what makes our country so special, it is that happiness,” Borg said.

South Korea (3-4), the 2008 gold medalist, took a 6-5 lead in a four-run fifth inning against five pitchers. Kang Baek-Ho hit a go-ahead single.

Oh (2-1), a 39-year-old right-hander who pitched for St. Louis, Toronto and Colorado from 2016-19, blew a save for the second time in the tournament.

Kansas City farmhands Jeison Guzman and Erick Mejia singled in the eighth, Seattle prospect Julio Rodríguez walked and Oh threw a wild pitch that tied the score.

Francisco, a six-year big league veteran whose last major league at-bat was in 2014, had struck out in his three previous plate appearances and nine times overall. He doubled to the left-center gap for an 8-6 lead, and Red Sox prospect Johan Mieses followed with a long two-run homer to left.

Cristopher Mercedes (1-0), who pitches for the Central League’s Yomiuri Giants, allowed four hits in 3 1/3 shutout innings as the fourth reliever out of the Dominican bullpen.

Jumbo Díaz, four years removed from his last big league appearance, relieved with two on in the ninth and got three straight outs for the save.

“I’m a little bit sad and disappointed,” former Baltimore and Philadelphia outfielder Hyun Soo Kim said through an interpreter.

Kim hit .400 (12 for 30) and led his team with four doubles, three homers and seven RBIs.

“There was a lot of pressure for me to win, and I’m a little bit sad that I wasn’t able to meet my expectation,” he said. “I also want to say sorry to the Korean people who rooted for us.”

Rodríguez, a 20-year-old at Double-A Arkansas, led the Dominicans with a .417 average (10 for 24). He put the Dominicans ahead 2-0 on an afternoon of intermittent rain when he sent a 0-1 pitch well over the left field wall. Francisco drove the next pitch in the last row of the right-field seats for his second Olympic homer and a 3-0 lead.

Mieses walked, and that was it for South Korea starter Kim Min-woo, who allowed four runs, three hits and a walk in one-third of an inning. Charlie Valerio added a sacrifice fly.

Dominican starter Raúl Valdés, a 43-year-old left-hander who was the oldest player in the tournament, gave up five runs and nine hits in four-plus innings. Valdés’ last big league appearance was for Houston in 2014.

Rodríguez was hit on the right hand by a pitch from Park Se-Woong in the sixth but stayed in the game.

Jhan Mariñez’s first attempt to relieve was foiled when the bullpen cart started to the mound when he had just one leg on it, causing him to stumble. He got back on and walked his only batter.


More AP Olympics: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

UNH gets first win in 23 trips to Boston College

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (AP) — Clarence O. Daniels II scored a career-high 34 points, Nazim Derry hit a 3-pointer with 23 seconds left in overtime and New Hampshire beat Boston College 74-71 on Tuesday night for its first road win in the series. New Hampshire (3-5) ended a 15-game losing streak in the series and […]
19 hours ago
Los Angeles Kings right wing Viktor Arvidsson celebrates scoring his second goal of the game agains...
Associated Press

L.A. Kings trounce Ottawa Senators 5-2

OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — Viktor Arvidsson scored twice, and the L.A. Kings took a decisive 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. Matt Roy, Mikey Anderson and Kevin Fiala also had goals, and Anze Kopitar registered three assists for the Kings (14-10-4), who kicked off a six-game road trip. Pheonix Copley made 31 saves […]
19 hours ago
Illinois' Terrence Shannon Jr. (0) reacts after scoring and drawing a foul in overtime during the t...
Associated Press

No. 17 Illinois rallies late, beats No. 2 Texas 85-78 in OT

NEW YORK (AP) — Terrence Shannon Jr. scored 12 of his 16 points in overtime, including the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 3:34 remaining, and No. 17 Illinois rallied to hand second-ranked Texas its first loss of the season, 85-78 on Tuesday night in the Jimmy V Classic. Jayden Epps added 11 points, including the final five […]
19 hours ago
Houston guard Marcus Sasser exits the game after sustaining an injury to his face during the first ...
Associated Press

Francis scores 14 as No. 1 Houston downs North Florida 76-42

HOUSTON (AP) — Ja’Vier Francis scored 14 points, star Marcus Sasser had 12 points in the first eight minutes before leaving with a cut over his eye, and top-ranked Houston coasted to a 76-42 win over North Florida on Tuesday night. Sasser, who entered the game averaging 17.5 points, made two 3-pointers early as the […]
19 hours ago
Miami Heat guard Kyle Lowry (7) defends against Detroit Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic (44) durin...
Associated Press

Pistons run away in 2nd half, embarrass Heat 116-96

MIAMI (AP) — Bojan Bogdanovic scored 31 points, Alec Burks added 18 and the Detroit Pistons pulled away in the second half to beat the Miami Heat 116-96 on Tuesday night. Saddiq Bey scored 14, Isaiah Stewart had 11 points and 11 rebounds and Cory Joseph also finished with 11 points for the Pistons, who […]
19 hours ago
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is defended by Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland (10...
Associated Press

Mitchell’s 43 lead Cavs to 116-102 win over LeBron, Lakers

CLEVELAND (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored a season-high 43 points and Jarrett Allen returned from injury to add 24, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 116-102 win on Tuesday night over the Los Angeles Lakers in LeBron James’ only visit home this season. With Anthony Davis missing the final three quarters because of illness, the […]
19 hours ago
Dominicans top South Korea 10-6, win baseball bronze